SSH is a great protocol that allows secure connections to remote systems. It’s easy to use, gives you terminal access to the system in question and allows you to function as you would were you at the machine itself – in the terminal. But, if you want to see actual windows, thru a GUI window management system like Gnome, for instance, you need to enable X11 forwarding.

You have to configure the server (remote box) and the client (you).

For server, install and run the sshd daemon:

sudo apt-get install ssh-server;
sudo /etc/init.d/ssh restart

Then adjust the server config:

sudo emacs /etc/ssh/ssh_config;
# add/modify this line to read...
ForwardX11   yes

For the client, install and run ssh:

sudo apt-get install ssh;
ssh [remote-host-ip] -X

The -X option will enable the X11 forwarding. Now, try to pop something in a window. (eg, emacs &, xclock &, nautilus &).